Battle with Missouri one of the highlights of tough Kansas basketball nonconference slate for 2020-21 season

The Kansas bench reacts to a three from Kansas guard Michael Jankovich (20) late in the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The renewal of the series with bitter border rival Missouri highlights the 2020-21 slate of nonconference games for the Kansas men’s basketball program.

The full nonconference schedule, released Wednesday afternoon, features the usual mix of games against some of the nation’s top programs and promises to keep KU positioned near the top of the strength of schedule rankings.

“Once again we will have one of the toughest schedules in the country,” KU coach Bill Self said in a release announcing the nonconference opponents. “We have a minimum of four games against teams that will be ranked in the preseason top 10, with Kentucky, Creighton and Baylor. And that doesn’t even mention the other teams that will be ranked like USC, Colorado, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Texas and the SEC opponent, just to mention a few.”

Some of those games Self mentioned will come during the conference portion of KU’s schedule, which will begin in January 2021.

But the games leading up to those figure to have the Jayhawks battle-tested and ready for another run at a conference title.

KU kicks off the season on Nov. 10 in Chicago, where the Jayhawks will face Kentucky in the annual Champions Classic.

A little more than two weeks later, Kansas will head to Anaheim, Calif., where it will participate in the Wooden Legacy Tournament on Nov. 26 and 27. The Jayhawks will play two of the three other programs at the event — Georgetown, UCLA and Virginia.

A week later, KU will play host to Creighton on Dec. 3 before taking on Missouri at Sprint Center in the first game of the Border Showdown series since 2012 on Dec. 12.

That game will mark the first in a six-game series between KU and Mizzou, who stopped playing on an annual basis when Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC following the 2011-12 season.

KU closes December with a home game against USC on Dec. 19 and trip to Boulder, Colo., on Dec. 22, to face another former Big 12 foe in the return game of a home-and-home series with Colorado.

The Jayhawks will close the calendar year with a home game against Harvard on Dec. 29 before opening Big 12 play in early January.

The rest of KU’s 2020-21 schedule is expected to be released in the late summer, as the Big 12 Conference works on matchups, TV dates and game times in the months ahead.

The 2020-21 season also will be the first since 2009 during which Kansas lowered its prices for season tickets.

The new pricing, which features eight tiers of season-ticket options instead of just three, was announced last week and features cheaper prices for nearly 45% of the season-ticket seats inside Allen Fieldhouse.

Here’s a look at KU’s complete nonconference schedule for the 2020-21 season

Nov. 10 – vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic in Chicago)

Nov. 13 – vs. Southern Utah

Nov. 16 – vs. Eastern Illinois

Nov. 20 – vs. Stony Brook

Nov. 26-27 – at Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, Calif.

Dec. 3 – vs. Creighton

Dec. 8 – vs. Omaha

Dec. 12 – vs. Missouri (at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.)

Dec. 19 – vs. USC

Dec. 22 – at Colorado

Dec. 29 – vs. Harvard

Jan. 30 – KU vs. TBD opponent in Big 12/SEC Challenge

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